Governor Andrew Cuomo still plans to leave office Monday, Aug. 23, despite ramping up his public presence in the lead up to Tropical Storm Henri.
“Yes, my final day is tomorrow, Tuesday morning,” said the outgoing governor in response to a question from amNewYork Metro during a virtual storm press briefing Sunday morning.
The governor is officially scheduled to leave by 11:59 p.m. Monday, but appeared to misspeak, referring to Tuesday, Aug. 24, when Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul is slated to replace him as New York State’s chief executive.
Cuomo spokesman Shams Tarek declined to clarify the statement and referred to Hochul for further comment. Hochul’s office did not respond for clarification.
For the second day in a row, the scandal-ridden governor assembled an array of agency leaders for a broadcast conference to talk about the Empire State’s plans for Henri, which was expected to make landfall on eastern Long Island around 11 a.m. On Sunday, he was flanked by acting Metropolitan Transportation Authority chief Janno Lieber and Port Authority executive director Rick Cotton.
Notably, Hochul was not present, despite being scheduled to take over the reins of the state in less than 48 hours. Cuomo said she’d been briefed, and that he was optimistic the heavy weather event will be largely over by the time he leaves.
“The lieutenant governor has been briefed on all of this and we’re in constant communication,” said Cuomo when amNewYork Metro asked about his second-in-line’s absence. “The event should be over by tomorrow PM. At this point — knock formica — we don’t expect any real significant damage post the event. Nothing on the scale of Superstorm Sandy, for example.”
The governor said he has asked members of his emergency management team, who were thinking of leaving with him Tuesday, to stay on until the storm is fully dealt with.
“I have asked my emergency management team, to the extend they were thinking of leaving Tuesday, that I would appreciate the accommodation for the good of the state if they could stay in place until this situation is completed, depending on what the aftermath needs to be,” he said.
Hochul spokesman Matthew Janiszewski declined to respond to a question about her absence at Sunday’s briefing, saying the lieutenant governor continues to monitor the storm.
The lieutenant governor sent out a post on Twitter after the press conference largely reiterating the updates Cuomo gave at his briefing.
My team and I are continuing to closely monitor #Henri.
The storm has weakened slightly, but that does not mean the risk is gone.
Storm surge, heavy rain and flooding (including inland flooding) remain serious threats.
New Yorkers, please monitor updates & stay safe.
— Kathy Hochul (@ltgovhochulny) August 22, 2021
Hochul will officially be sworn in as New York state’s 57th — and first female — governor a minute after midnight on Tuesday, Aug. 24, and will hold a ceremonial swearing-in at 10 am at the State Capitol in Albany.
Cuomo announced on Aug. 10 that he would resign two weeks later, after the revelations of a bombshell investigation by state Attorney General Letitia James, which found accusations of sexual harassment by 11 women, along with a toxic work culture in the Executive Chamber.